Title IX Policy

Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy

Table of Contents

  1. Opening Statement and Purpose
  2. Scope of Policy
  3. Title IX and Nondiscrimination
  4. Retaliation, Misuse of Confidential Information, and False Accusations
  5. Time Considerations for Reporting and Filing Title IX Complaints of Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct
  6. Amnesty for Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use Violations for Individuals Who Report Incidents of Sexual Misconduct
  7. Available Resources and Recommended Immediate Steps Following An Incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination and/or Sexual Misconduct
  8. Options and Procedures for Reporting or Disclosing Title IX Incidents of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct
  9. Filing a Complaint of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct
  10. Confidential and Anonymous Reporting
  11. Supportive Measures
  12. Investigation and Resolution Processes for Cases in Which Both Parties Are Students
  13. Definitions

I. Opening Statement and Purpose

Rhodes College is committed to ensuring a safe learning environment that supports the dignity of all members of the Rhodes community. Rhodes does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender in any of its education or employment programs and activities. To that end, this policy prohibits specific forms of behavior that violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and which are antithetical to the educational mission of Rhodes. This policy applies to all members of the Rhodes community.

Rhodes will not tolerate sexual misconduct, which is prohibited, and which includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and stalking. Rhodes strongly encourages students to report instances of sexual misconduct immediately. Employees are required to report such instances under Rhodes’ Employee Handbook and Rhodes’ Mandatory Reporter Policy.

These policies and procedures are intended to ensure that all students involved in a Title IX case receive appropriate support and fair treatment, and that allegations of sexual misconduct are handled in a prompt, thorough and equitable manner.

This Sexual Misconduct Policy serves as Rhodes’ comprehensive policy against sexual misconduct and gender- or sex-based discrimination in all of its forms. The accompanying Formal Grievance Policy, which is linked here, covers a narrower sub-set of sexual harassment that must be addressed according to a defined formal grievance process as required by the U.S. Department of Education under new Title IX Regulations, effective August 14, 2020. When sexual misconduct meets the criteria specified in the Title IX Regulations, it must be addressed under the Formal Grievance Policy, and not this Sexual Misconduct Policy, to the extent the processes differ between the two policies. See 34 C.F.R. § 106.44-.45; see Sections I-II of each policy.  Otherwise, this comprehensive Sexual Misconduct Policy will apply (e.g., the definitions in this Policy apply to the Formal Grievance Policy). Combined, Rhodes’ policies and procedures are intended to ensure that all students impacted by an incident or complaint of sexual misconduct receive appropriate support and fair treatment, and that allegations of sexual misconduct are handled in a prompt, thorough and equitable manner.  

Relevant terms are defined in Sections II below and XIII at the end of this Policy.

Rhodes will review, evaluate, and make any revisions or amendments to its policies on an ongoing and as-needed basis. This Policy and the accompanying Formal Grievance Policy shall apply to all Reports and Complaints of sexual misconduct received by Rhodes’ Title IX Coordinator on or after August 14, 2020, regardless of the date of the alleged incident. These policies will not be applied retroactively.  The prior iteration of this policy shall apply to Reports and Complaints received by the Title IX Coordinator prior to August 14, 2020.

Inquiries about the application of this policy should be directed to Rhodes’ Title IX Coordinator:

Inez Warner
Title IX Coordinator
Rhodes College
Southwestern Hall, Ste. 303
2000 North Parkway
Memphis, TN 38112
901-843-3354
warneri@rhodes.edu

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II. Scope of Policy

A.   Scope

This Policy, its supplemental procedural guidance, and the Formal Grievance Policy are intended to protect and guide individuals who have been affected by sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct, whether as a Complainant, a Respondent, or as a witness, and to provide fair and equitable procedures for investigation and resolution of Reports and Complaints.

As noted above, when sexual misconduct meets the criteria specified in new Title IX Regulations, effective August 14, 2020, it must be addressed under the Formal Grievance Policy, and not this Sexual Misconduct Policy, to the extent the processes differ between the two policies. The Formal Grievance Policy applies to “sexual harassment” in a Rhodes “education program or activity” against a person in the United States. 34 C.F.R. § 106.44(a). “Sexual harassment” is defined in the Regulations (§ 106.30) to be conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

1.   A Rhodes employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (“quid pro quo”);

2.   Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to Rhodes’ education program or activity; or

3.   Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking.  (These terms are defined in the Definitions section below, Section XIII.)

“Sexual misconduct,” which is addressed in this comprehensive Sexual Misconduct Policy, is a broader term that covers sex-based conduct beyond the Title IX Regulations’ “sexual harassment” definition. Examples may include sexual exploitation and many forms of verbal harassment that may not meet the Regulations’ definition of “sexual harassment.”

Additionally, the Title IX Regulations’ jurisdictional criteria is narrower than this Sexual Misconduct Policy. The Formal Grievance Policy applies to a Rhodes “education program or activity,” which is defined by the Regulations to include locations, events or circumstances over which Rhodes exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by Rhodes, if it occurs in the United States. (§ 106.44(a).) 

If sexual misconduct is alleged to have occurred that does not satisfy the Title IX Regulations’ jurisdictional criteria, such as off-campus sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment) alleged to have an on-campus effect or occurring during a study abroad program, then it may be addressed according to this comprehensive Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Rhodes retains the right to utilize different processes for certain Title IX cases. For example, cases meeting the criteria of the new Title IX Regulations will be governed by the accompanying Formal Grievance Policy. Cases that are reported during the non-academic year or that extend into the non-academic year may proceed under different processes in the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator as long as they do not conflict with Rhodes’ policies. While the Formal Grievance Policy applies to alleged employee sexual harassment per the Title IX Regulations, this Sexual Misconduct Policy does not apply to alleged employee sexual misconduct or discrimination that falls outside of the new Title IX Regulations; such alleged misconduct between employees or between an employee and a non-student are governed by the Employee Handbook and Rhodes retains the right to apply modified processes for cases involving such alleged misconduct in which a student is a party if an employee or faculty member is also a party to the case.

B.  Overview of Policy and Certain Key Definitions

Rhodes will investigate all reports received by the Title IX Coordinator of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct (“Reports”). Rhodes is authorized under this Sexual Misconduct Policy and its accompanying Formal Grievance Policy to take certain actions to address or remedy sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct after receiving a Report, during an investigation, and after an investigation even if the matter does not proceed to an adjudication.

Anyone can report an incident of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct to Rhodes under the procedure described in Section VIII of this Policy.  For example, a “Reporter” can be any individual who reports to Rhodes that they are a victim or survivor of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct or that they have been affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct (sometimes referred to as a “First-Party Reporter”) or that they have knowledge of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else (sometimes referred to as a “Third-Party Reporter”).

A Report will become a “Complaint” if a First-Party Reporter files a written document with the Title IX Coordinator describing an incident of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct and indicating that they want Rhodes to take further steps, such as a full investigation and possibly holding an adjudication to resolve the alleged issue.  Rhodes can also convert a Report to a “Complaint” if Rhodes determines that, in order to meet its Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the broader Rhodes Community, it must take further steps to address and resolve the matter. A Formal Complaint under the Formal Grievance Policy is a type of Complaint.  See Formal Grievance Policy, Section IV.A., regarding Formal Complaints.

A “Complainant” refers to an individual who is alleged to have been subjected to an incident of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct (i.e., a First-Party Reporter or a victim or person who has otherwise been affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, or under the Formal Grievance Policy governing sexual harassment, an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment). A Complainant has certain rights under this Policy, as discussed below.  A Reporter who reports witnessing sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else (i.e., a Third-Party Reporter) can file a Report and request that it be treated as a Complaint, but that does not make them a Complainant. Similarly, the fact that the Title IX Coordinator may elevate a Report to a Complaint does not make the Title IX Coordinator a Complainant.

A “Respondent” refers to an individual who has been accused of conduct that could constitute sexual misconduct prohibited under this Policy (or, under the Formal Grievance Policy governing sexual harassment, an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment). A student Respondent has certain rights under this Policy, as discussed below, and under the Formal Grievance Policy when that policy is applicable. 

A “third party” refers to any other participant in the process, including a witness to the incident or an individual who makes a Report on behalf of someone else.

As used throughout this Policy, references to the “Title IX Coordinator” shall include any Deputy Title IX Coordinator and any other person expressly designated by the Title IX Coordinator to act on their behalf.

Additional definitions are contained in Section XIII of this Policy.

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III. Title IX and Nondiscrimination

Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Title IX prohibits use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs and provides individuals effective protection against such practices. Title IX applies, with a few specific exceptions, to all aspects of federally funded education programs and activities. In addition to traditional education institutions such as colleges, universities, and elementary and secondary schools, Title IX also applies to any education or training program operated by a recipient of federal financial assistance.            

As required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Rhodes prohibits all unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation in any employment decision, admissions determination, education program, or educational activity.          

As part of its commitment to maintaining a community free of discrimination, and in compliance with Title IX’s mandate, Rhodes will address allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment in a timely and effective way, provide resources as needed for affected persons (Reporters, Complainants, Respondents and third parties within the Rhodes Community), and not tolerate retaliation against any person who reports sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct.

Any individual designated by Rhodes to have the duty to report alleged sex/gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and/or retaliation (known as a “Mandatory Reporter”) and who fails to report such conduct may be subjected to disciplinary action by Rhodes.

Inquiries about the application of Title IX should be directed to Rhodes’ Title IX Coordinator.  Additional information can be found on Rhodes’ Title IX website.

Inquiries about the application of Title IX also can be directed to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

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IV. Retaliation, Misuse of Confidential Information, and False Accusations

Rhodes expressly prohibits retaliation against anyone who: 1) in good faith, reports what they believe is discrimination or sexual misconduct, 2) participates in any investigation or proceeding under this Policy, or 3) opposes conduct that they believe to violate this Policy. Retaliation includes intimidation, harassment, threats, or other adverse action or speech against the person who reported the misconduct, the parties, and their witnesses.

Consistent with FERPA’s prohibition on re-disclosure of confidential information, any person who receives another person’s confidential information solely as a result of participation in any investigation or proceeding under this Policy, is prohibited from using or disclosing such confidential information outside of such forums without express consent or for any improper purpose. This provision only applies to other people’s confidential information, as a party is never restricted from discussing their own experience. This provision does not apply to any information learned outside of an investigation or proceeding under this Policy.

Rhodes will not only take steps to prevent retaliation, but it will also take strong corrective action if it occurs. Anyone who believes they have been the victim of retaliation should immediately report it to the Title IX Coordinator, who shall treat it as a Report. Any individual found to have retaliated against another individual will be in violation of this Policy and will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and potentially including termination for employees and expulsion for students.

Anyone who knowingly makes a false accusation of unlawful discrimination, harassment, or retaliation of any form will be subject to an investigation for a potential violation of this Policy and may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and potentially including termination for employees and expulsion for students.

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V. Time Considerations for Reporting and Filing Title IX Complaints of Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct

There is no time limit for reporting incidents of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct under this Policy, although Rhodes encourages reports to be made as soon as possible. Any individual who has been subjected to, or who knows of or has witnessed, an incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct is encouraged to report the incident or file a Complaint immediately in order to maximize Rhodes’ ability to obtain information and conduct an adequate, thorough, prompt, and impartial investigation into the incident. A delayed Report of alleged Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct may result in the loss of relevant information, evidence, and reliable witness testimony, and may impair Rhodes’ ability to fully investigate the incident. If a party files a Report or Complaint that is related to an existing investigation, Rhodes has the discretion to consolidate the two investigations and adjudications without re-starting the process as set forth in this Policy.

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VI. Amnesty for Alcohol and Illegal Drug Use Violations for Individuals Who Report Incidents of Sexual Misconduct

Rhodes strongly encourages individuals who have been involved in, or who know of, or have witnessed, incidents of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct to report such incidents as soon as possible.  Rhodes recognizes that students involved (e.g. as witnesses, bystanders, third parties, or Complainants) who may have violated drug and alcohol laws or policies may be hesitant to report out of fear of sanction. Therefore, in order to encourage reporting in all situations, anyone who reports or experiences Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct may be granted amnesty for any violation of Rhodes’ drug and alcohol policies that occurred in connection with the reported incident.  Rhodes intends to grant such amnesty for all but the most egregious violations of its drug and alcohol policies; however, individuals may be provided with resources on drug and alcohol counseling and/or education, as appropriate.

Honor code and other code or policy violations discovered during a Title IX process may be referred to the appropriate Rhodes office(s).

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VII. Available Resources and Recommended Immediate Steps Following An Incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination and/or Sexual Misconduct

Law Enforcement Local Hospitals

Emergency Assistance:

911

Methodist University Hospital

1265 Union Ave

901-516-7000

Memphis Police Department Sex Crimes Squad:

901-636-3330

Baptist Memorial Hospital

6019 Walnut Grove Road

901-226-5000

Rhodes College Campus Safety:

901-843-3880

St. Francis Hospital

5959 Park Ave

901-765-1000

For additional off-campus medical services, contact the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center at (901) 222-4350.

Rhodes is acutely aware that an individual who has been subjected to, or who knows of or who has witnessed a sex offense may experience physical, mental and emotional trauma as a result of the incident. A victim of sexual violence (e.g., sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking) is encouraged to follow these procedures immediately following the occurrence, when possible:

  1. Get to a safe place immediately and call someone you trust.
  2. If sexual contact and/or penetration occurred, do not wash, shower, bathe, use the toilet or change clothing or bedding.  Preserve any evidence as would be necessary to prove the offense, or in obtaining a judicial protective order, restraining order, and/or no-contact order.  Examples of such evidence include:
  • Clothing worn during the incident, including but not limited to undergarments;
  • Sheets, bedding, and condoms, if used;
  • A list of witnesses with contact information;
  • Text messages, emails, call history, and digital media posts; and
  • Pictures of any injuries.
  1. You are encouraged, but not required, to call the appropriate law enforcement agency. To contact the Memphis Police Department Sex Crimes Squad, call (901) 636-3330. Rhodes College Campus Safety, (901) 843-3880, can assist any student with reporting a crime to the Memphis Police Department. Even if you do not intend to pursue a criminal investigation immediately, you may wish to speak with law enforcement resources or sex assault counsellors about preserving evidence. This may allow you to proceed at a later time with a criminal complaint, if you later decide to do so. The filing of a police report or the pendency of civil or criminal proceedings does not automatically stop the Rhodes Title IX process.
  2. Get medical attention. Campus Safety will assist you in calling Emergency Medical Services (911) if you ask them to. Rhodes also encourages you to go, or have someone else take you, directly to a medical facility or medical provider of your choice.  Any medical provider should be instructed to collect and preserve relevant evidence, or if they are not experienced in doing so themselves, to contact the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center at (901) 222-4350. For additional off-campus medical services, contact the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center at (901) 222-4350.
  3. Rhodes will assist an individual who has been subjected to, who knows of, or who has witnessed an incident of sexual misconduct in obtaining the services of counseling professionals, if requested. Rhodes encourages you to seek support services.  For on-campus student counseling services, contact the Counseling Center at (901) 843-3128. For off-campus counseling and advocacy services, contact the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center at (901) 222-4350.  Rhodes will provide as much assistance as possible but cannot assume financial responsibility for such services.
  4. All members of the campus community are encouraged to seek resources and support related to sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct proceedings, including Respondents, witnesses and bystanders. For more information, see Rhodes’ Title IX website.

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VIII. Options and Procedures for Reporting or Disclosing Title IX Incidents of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct

A.  Options for Reporting to Rhodes Under This Policy

Anyone can report an incident of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct to Rhodes (a “Report”). A Report can be made by any individual who is a victim or survivor of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, who has been affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, or who has knowledge of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else. A Report may be made anonymously (see Section X).

Rhodes strongly encourages all individuals to report incidents of sexual misconduct and sex/gender discrimination even if the individual does not intend to pursue a Complaint. Even if Rhodes does not have jurisdiction over the Respondent, Rhodes may take prompt action to provide supportive measures for the safety and well-being of any affected person and the broader Rhodes community. No person should assume that an incident has already been reported by someone else or that Rhodes already knows about a particular situation.

In order to make a Report to Rhodes, a reporting individual may do one or more of the following:

1.       Report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator via email to TitleIX@rhodes.edu, by calling 901-843-3606, or by submitting an online Report form available at http://sites.Rhodes.edu/TitleNine. See Section I for the Title IX Coordinator’s contact information. Reporters are encouraged, but not required, to direct their Reports to the Title IX Coordinator.

A Report may also be made to the Provost, the Director of Human Resources and the Deputy Title IX Coordinators. 

2.       Report the incident to any faculty or staff member, Resident Assistant or Peer Advocate.  However, the Counseling Center and Health Services staff are considered “confidential resources” staff.

It is important to know that, with the exception of the “confidential resources” staff listed below in Section VIII.B., all Rhodes faculty and staff are Mandatory Reporters and are required by Rhodes to report any knowledge they receive of possible violations of this Policy to the Title IX Coordinator.  Mandatory Reporters must relay all known information about any reported policy violation, including but not limited to: the names of involved individuals, the nature of the incident, and the time and location of the incident.  (See Section X for information about confidential and anonymous reporting.)

All Resident Assistants and members of the Peer Advocate Center are also Mandatory Reporters and are required to report any knowledge of possible violations of the policy to the Title IX Coordinator. No other students are obligated to report knowledge of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator, including student employees of Rhodes who are considered students and not staff for purposes of this Policy and are not Mandatory Reporters. Depending on their job, a student employee may be required to report an applicable incident to their supervisor; however, any such job requirement would not extend to require a disclosure to the Title IX Coordinator and therefore would not constitute a Report to Rhodes.

Once the Title IX Coordinator learns of any Report of alleged sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, whether from a direct Report or from a Mandatory Reporter, they will implement supportive measures as needed and initiate an investigation into the alleged incident. The form of the investigation may vary, particularly if the conduct alleged is governed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IX Regulations, in which case Rhodes’ Formal Grievance Policy will apply. Following an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator has authority to resolve a Report, including the implementation of any supportive measures, and close the case if the Report does not constitute or become a Complaint.

After making a Report, an individual may choose to file or request a Complaint and pursue resolution (under this policy or the Formal Grievance Policy, as applicable) or, if applicable, an Informal Resolution involving the Respondent; may choose to be involved or not be involved in Rhodes’ investigation and any related proceedings; or may choose to end involvement in the process. 

B.  Options Utilizing Confidential Resources

Rather than making a Report, individuals can confidentially discuss incidents of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct with one of the following Rhodes “confidential resources”:

  • Any member of the Student Health Services staff located at the Moore-Moore Student Health Center -  (901) 843-3895

  • Student Counseling Center staff - Moore-Moore Student Health Center - (901) 843-3128

  •  Rhodes Chaplain- Burrow Hall, Room 421 - (901) 843-3822

     

Disclosures made to these confidential resources will be held in strict confidence, and will not constitute a Report to Rhodes under this Policy.  These confidential resources may assist individuals with making Reports or filing Complaints if, and only if, the Complainant requests that they do so or if there is an emergency in which the Complainant cannot report the alleged sexual misconduct. Anyone who at first utilizes a confidential resource may later decide to make a report to a non-confidential resource, such as the Title IX Office or law enforcement.

Additionally, in order to assist Rhodes in collecting data and identifying potential patterns or systemic problems related to sexual violence on and off campus, the “confidential resources” staff will convey general and non-personally-identifiable information about the incident (i.e. nature, time and location of the incident) to the Title IX Coordinator. Because such communications will necessarily lack any personally-identifying information, they will not constitute Reports and generally will not be investigated unless a  pattern or systemic problem is discovered.  Again, Rhodes strongly encourages all individuals to report incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX office, including with the assistance of confidential resources, if they wish for the incident to be investigated; otherwise, Rhodes fully respects the confidential resources’ strict confidence when the Reporter chooses not to report. 

 

See Section X regarding making confidential and anonymous Reports to Rhodes.

C.  Options for Notifying Off-Campus Law Enforcement Authorities

Individuals can, but are not required to, notify off-campus law enforcement authorities about any incident of alleged sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct, including by dialing (911), calling the Memphis Police Department Sex Crimes Squad at (901) 636-3330, and/or by calling the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center at (901) 222-4350. Individuals can also contact other law enforcement agencies, depending on the location of the incident.  Notifying off-campus law enforcement authorities will not constitute a Report to Rhodes under this Policy, but it may or may not result in such authorities reporting relevant information back to Rhodes which Rhodes will investigate.

 

Individuals can request assistance from Rhodes faculty and staff in notifying appropriate law enforcement authorities, which Rhodes will encourage them to provide.  Requesting such assistance from a Mandatory Reporter will constitute a Report as described above.

D.  Option to Not Report

Students can choose not to notify Rhodes or any law enforcement authorities about an alleged incident of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct.

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IX. Filing a Complaint of Title IX Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct

If an individual wishes to pursue an incident of Title IX sexual misconduct or sex/gender discrimination beyond simply reporting it, they may file a Complaint.  The filing of a Complaint means that the individual is asking Rhodes to take further steps, such as a full investigation and possibly holding an adjudication to resolve the alleged issue. Any Complainant (i.e., an alleged victim or survivor or someone who has otherwise been directly affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct) may file a Complaint, and Rhodes will treat it as such.  Any Third-Party Reporter may request that Rhodes treat their Report as a Complaint, but that would not make the Third-Party Reporter into a Complainant, and Rhodes shall have discretion on whether to treat the Third-Party Report as a Complaint.

In order to meet its Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the broader Rhodes Community, Rhodes may convert a Report into a Complaint if Rhodes determines that it must take additional steps to protect the Rhodes Community. 

Depending on the conduct alleged and the location of the incident, a Complaint will be governed by either this Policy or the Formal Grievance Policy. A Formal Complaint under the Formal Grievance Policy is a type of Complaint. (See Formal Grievance Policy, Section IV.A., regarding Formal Complaints, and Sections I-II of each policy for descriptions of the scope of each respective policy.)

A.  Filing a Complaint 

Anyone seeking to file a Complaint of individual or institutional Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct may do so with the Title IX Coordinator. Complaints must be in writing and include all information that the filer believes to be relevant (e.g., time, location and nature of incident, names of individuals involved in or witnesses to the incident, names of other persons affected by the incident, etc.). Alternatively, an individual can also file a Complaint by meeting with the Title IX Coordinator and providing a verbal description of the Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct, which the Title IX Coordinator will use to draft a written document that the individual will review, verify and sign to constitute a Complaint.

B.  Action Following the Filing of a Complaint

Rhodes will investigate all Complaints of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct. A Complaint meeting the criteria of the Formal Grievance Policy (a “Formal” Complaint) will proceed according to that Policy instead of the provisions below.

For a Complaint that does not meet the criteria of the Formal Grievance Policy, Rhodes’ process will typically involve an investigation phase and then proceed to a Resolution Hearing before a Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board to determine whether the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for having violated this Policy, except in the circumstances described below. In some instances, an Informal Resolution also may be an option for resolving a Complaint. 

C.  Where the Formal Grievance Protocol does not apply, the Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to resolve a Complaint without a Resolution Hearing in the following circumstances:

(1) if Rhodes lacks jurisdiction;

(2) if a case involves a Rhodes employee (faculty, staff member or contract services employee), the Title IX Coordinator shall coordinate with the Chief Human Resources Officer about appropriate processes and/or resolution;      

(3) if the allegations could not constitute a Policy violation under any alleged circumstances;

(4) if the Complaint is eligible for the Informal Resolution process;

(5) if the Complaint was requested by a Third-Party Reporter who reported witnessing sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else, the Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to resolve the Complaint or to provide modified hearing procedures, particularly to account for the alleged victim’s wishes (e.g., if they do not wish to pursue the Complaint as a first-party Complainant);

(6) if the Complainant and Respondent both consent to an alternative resolution, with such consent obtained independently from each person by the Title IX Coordinator to avoid a risk of coercion;

(7) for matters that do not involve Rhodes employees (faculty, staff member or contract services employee), if either Complainant or Respondent, or both, are not Rhodes students, or cease to be Rhodes students prior to final resolution of the Complaint (e.g., a student withdrawal), the Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to resolve the Complaint or to provide modified hearing procedures;

(8) or, if the Respondent admits responsibility for a violation, the Title IX Coordinator shall have discretion to resolve the Complaint or to provide modified hearing procedures to help the Hearing Board decide appropriate sanctions. 

In all circumstances, the Title IX Coordinator shall have authority to impose supportive measures and make accommodations consistent with Section XI below and take other measures consistent the Rhodes Student Handbook; and for employee matters, the Chief Human Resources Officer or the Vice President of Academic Affairs/Dean of the Faculty shall have authority to take action consistent with the Rhodes Employee Handbook.

D.  A person may withdraw a Complaint. If a Complaint is withdrawn, Rhodes will treat the withdrawn Complaint as a Report and proceed accordingly.

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X. Confidential and Anonymous Reporting

As discussed above in Section VIII.B., individuals can confidentially discuss incidents of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct with Rhodes’ “confidential resources” staff.  Those discussions will remain confidential and not be considered a Report to Rhodes.

Any individual can make an anonymous Report of a violation of the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. An individual may report the incident without disclosing their name, identifying a Claimant or a Respondent, or requesting any action. Rhodes will attempt to investigate anonymous reports but often will be inhibited without being able to collect evidence from and ask follow-up questions to a complainant; thus, supportive measures and the potential for discipline may be lessened as compared to personal reports. The anonymous reporting form can be found on the College’s website (http://sites.Rhodes.edu/TitleNine). The Title IX Coordinator will receive the anonymous Report and will determine any appropriate steps, including individual or community remedies as appropriate.

A Reporter can also make a Report disclosing their name but requesting confidentiality.  An affected person who is the subject of a Third-Party Report can also request confidentiality. In such instances, if they also request that no investigation or disciplinary action be pursued, the Title IX Coordinator will respect the request for confidentiality as long as only personal supportive measures are requested and grounds do not exist to convert the Report into a Complaint. A request for confidentiality cannot be fulfilled in the case of a Complaint. Further, in some instances, Rhodes may deny or modify a request for confidentiality when weighed against Rhodes’ obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, considering many factors, including:

  • The seriousness of the alleged misconduct;
  • Whether there have been other reports of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct against the Respondent known by Rhodes;
  • Whether the Respondent has allegedly threatened further misconduct or violence;
  • Whether the alleged misconduct was committed by multiple perpetrators;
  • Whether the alleged misconduct involved use of a weapon;
  • The age of the individual subjected to the alleged misconduct;
  • Whether Rhodes possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of the alleged misconduct;
  • Whether the Report reveals a pattern of misconduct at a particular location or by a particular individual or group of individuals; and
  • The accused individual’s right to receive information about the allegations if the information is maintained by Rhodes as an “education record” under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), if applicable.

In an instance where Rhodes determines it must deny or modify a request for confidentiality, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the requesting individual prior to making the disclosure to anyone beyond necessary College officials. Any such disclosure will be limited to only individuals with a need to know such information. Consistent with FERPA’s prohibition on re-disclosure of confidential information, any recipient is prohibited from using or disclosing other people’s confidential information, learned as a result of participation in any investigation or proceeding under this Policy, outside of such forums without express consent or for any improper purpose. This provision only applies to other people’s confidential information, as a party is never restricted from discussing their own experience. This provision does not apply to any information learned outside of an investigation or proceeding under this Policy. In all instances, members of the Rhodes Community should understand that Title IX prohibits retaliation against anyone reporting a potential Title IX incident, and that Rhodes officials will not only take steps to prevent retaliation but also take strong responsive action if it occurs.

In all cases of alleged gender/sex discrimination or misconduct under this Policy reported to the Title IX Coordinator, Rhodes will investigate and implement supportive measures. Please note that Rhodes’ ability to investigate and respond fully to an incident may be limited because of requests for confidentiality or to not proceed with disciplinary action.

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XI. Supportive Measures

In cases of reported alleged Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct involving students, Rhodes may implement supportive measures immediately or at any time that Rhodes determines such measures are necessary. The Title IX Coordinator shall have responsibility for determining such supportive measures. Some of these supportive measures also may continue in effect after an investigation is closed or as post-hearing sanctions or accommodations, depending on the outcome of the investigation and hearing.  Examples of supportive measures that Rhodes may consider and elect to implement include, but are not limited to:

  • facilitating leaves of absence for impacted parties, to the extent practicable;
  • implementing a mutual “no contact” order to govern, and attempt to avoid, interaction between affected individuals;
  • providing a campus safety escort to ensure a Complainant can move safely between buildings, classes, dining halls, and activities on campus;
  • ensuring that the Complainant and the Respondent do not attend the same classes, seminars, functions, meetings, etc.;
  • offering to provide or facilitate the provision of medical, counseling and mental health services, but not necessarily covering the cost of such services;
  • providing education regarding gender discrimination, sexual misconduct, alcohol and drug use, incapacitation and consent, etc.;
  • reviewing any academic challenges or any disciplinary actions taken against the Complainant to see if there is a causal connection between the events that may have impacted the Complainant;
  • changing work schedules, job assignments, or job locations for College employment;
  • changing on-campus living arrangements, when reasonable;
  • providing increased monitoring, supervision, or security at locations or activities where the misconduct occurred; and
  • limiting the access of the individual accused of the misconduct to certain Rhodes facilities until the matter is resolved, including the possibility of an interim suspension if warranted.

Rhodes may also, upon request, arrange for the re-taking, changing, or withdrawing from classes, and in such instances, Rhodes will make every reasonable effort to mitigate any academic or financial penalty for providing such arrangements.

Supportive measures shall be balanced based on the facts collected, seriousness of the allegations, and the potential safety risks posed to the Rhodes Community. Supportive measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to Rhodes’ education program and activities without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or Rhodes’ educational environment, or deter sexual misconduct. Rhodes will maintain as confidential any personal supportive measures provided to only the Complainant or only to the Respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair its ability to provide the supportive measures (e.g., not applicable to mutual no contact orders).

Rhodes may also consider and take supportive measures that affect the broader Rhodes Community and which are aimed to eliminate occurrences of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct and to promote academic and employment environments free of such conduct.

If a Respondent student withdraws from Rhodes while a Complaint is pending, supportive measures may be continued. The Respondent may be required to notify the Title IX Coordinator if they intend to visit any building owned or controlled by Rhodes or a student organization that is officially recognized by Rhodes, or if they otherwise seek to attend any Rhodes education program or activity or event, so that the Complainant may be given an opportunity to receive supportive measures if needed. The Respondent’s student records also may be marked to indicate their departure during a disciplinary process (which may resume if they return to Rhodes), but shall not indicate that such Respondent was found or assumed responsible for any alleged misconduct pending at the time of departure.  

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XII. Investigation and Resolution Processes for Cases in Which Both Parties are Students

This Section describes Rhodes’ investigation and resolution processes for cases in which both parties are students and in which the conduct alleged does not trigger the Rhodes Formal Grievance Policy. 

For more details, please refer to the Procedural Guidance accompanying this Policy.

A.  Investigation

Rhodes will investigate all Reports of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct reported to the Title IX Coordinator regardless of whether the Report becomes a Complaint. The investigation and adjudication procedures (if needed) shall be prompt, fair, and impartial. The process typically will begin with intake meetings conducted by the Title IX Coordinator.  The investigation phase may include interviewing the Complainant/ First-Party Reporter, the Respondent, and any witnesses; reviewing law enforcement investigation documents if applicable; reviewing relevant student files; and gathering and examining other relevant documents and evidence.

For Reports, the Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee will conduct an initial investigation. If that initial investigation demonstrates that the case may implicate Rhodes’ Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the broader Rhodes Community, the Title IX Coordinator may treat the Report as a Complaint and follow the Complaint processes outlined herein and in the accompanying Procedural Guidance.  If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the Report does not implicate Rhodes’ Title IX obligations, then after the Title IX Coordinator’s investigation, implementation of any supportive measures, and finalization of any investigation memo, the Title IX Coordinator will be authorized to close the matter. 

For Complaints, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint an investigator (“Investigator”) to handle the investigation. This Investigator will be a different person than the Title IX Coordinator.  Following the investigation, the Investigator will draft an investigation report succinctly describing all collected information.  The report will be delivered to the Title IX Coordinator, who will analyze the report to ensure that the investigation was prompt, fair, impartial, thorough, and consistent with this policy.  The Investigator will not make any recommendation as to whether a policy violation has occurred or potential sanctions.  Depending on how the Complaint proceeds, the investigation report and other materials related to the investigation may be presented at a Resolution Hearing and/or may be presented during an Informal Resolution process.

Rhodes will make reasonable efforts to balance and protect the rights of the parties during any investigation commenced under this Policy.  Rhodes will respect the privacy of the parties and any witnesses in a manner consistent with Rhodes’ obligations to investigate the alleged incident, and take appropriate interim and/or corrective action. The Title IX Coordinator will keep the parties reasonably informed of the status of the investigation. 

Both Complainants and Respondents may utilize Advisors and Supporters throughout the investigation process, including to accompany them to any hearing, conference, or related disciplinary proceeding. Neither Advisors nor Supporters are permitted to directly participate in Resolution Hearings or Informal Resolution conferences; they may be present solely to advise or support the party and are prohibited from speaking directly to the Investigator, the Hearing Board, other parties, or witnesses.

B.  Informal Resolution

For Complaints with a student Respondent, at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, the parties may opt to pursue an Informal Resolution as an alternative to a Resolution Hearing. An Informal Resolution involves a remedies-based, non-judicial process designed to eliminate or address potential sexual misconduct. This process aims to assure fairness, to facilitate communication, and to maintain an equitable balance of power between the parties. Rhodes will not compel face-to-face confrontation between the parties or participation in any particular form of Informal Resolution. 

The Title IX Coordinator will make an initial decision about whether a case qualifies for an Informal Resolution, and if both parties then agree to pursue that path, Rhodes will halt any investigation or scheduled Resolution Hearing so that the parties can explore the possibility of informal resolution.  Participation in an Informal Resolution is voluntary, and either party can request to end the Informal conference at any time and return the investigation or proceeding to its pre-conference status.  Agreements reached in an Informal Resolution are final and not subject to appeal.

C.  Resolution Hearing

A Resolution Hearing is Rhodes’ disciplinary proceeding through which a Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board evaluates evidence related to a Complaint to determine whether a student Respondent is responsible or not responsible for a violation of this Policy, based on the criteria of “a preponderance of evidence.” Under this standard, the burden of proof is met and a Respondent may be found responsible for a Policy violation if the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board determines that it is more likely than not that the Respondent committed the violation. If the Respondent is found in violation of the Policy, the Respondent may be subjected to disciplinary action.

The Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board will consist of three trained faculty and/or staff members. None of the members of the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board will be the same as either the Title IX Coordinator or the Investigator.

The parties will be provided notice of the date, time and location of the hearing. At least ten (10) business days prior to a hearing, both parties and the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board will be provided access to a hearing packet containing the investigation report and other information pertinent to the hearing. The hearing may consist of testimony by the parties, witnesses and the Investigator, and may include the presentation of other evidence. Hearings, including those that occur during the non-academic year, may be conducted via video conference and/or teleconference, as needed. The Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board will be allowed to question each witness who appears, and the parties will be allowed to ask questions through the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board. Live, verbal, and direct cross-examination of a party or witness is not permitted under this Policy by a party or that party’s Advisor (unlike in the Formal Grievance Process required for addressing defined sexual harassment). The parties will be provided notice of the outcome of the Hearing Board’s deliberations, including the determination of whether the Respondent was found responsible or not responsible for the alleged violation(s) and applicable sanction(s). Decisions made in a Resolution Hearing may be appealed. The Title IX Coordinator will be authorized to stay sanctions pending appeal and/or make further accommodations that are consistent with the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board’s decision.

D.  Appeals 

Either Complainant or Respondent may appeal any Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board decision within five (5) business days of delivery of the Hearing Board’s determination. Appeals can only be raised on one or more of the following grounds: (1) a procedural irregularity, meaning an alleged failure to follow the process outlined in this Policy, that affected the outcome of the matter; (2) to consider new facts or information that were not known or knowable to the appealing party before or during the time of the hearing and that were sufficient to alter the decision; (3) the Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, or adjudicator(s) had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome of the matter. Rhodes reserves the right to offer an appeal equally to both parties on additional bases in its discretion. The notice of appeal must specifically describe the facts upon which the appeal is based and how it allegedly affected the outcome. The appeal will be reviewed and determined by an Appeals Board, based on the grounds contained in the appeal statement. Appeals decisions are final and not subject to further review.

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XIII. Definitions

Please also refer to Section II.B. for more information about certain key definitions.

Advisor: Refers to an attorney or a non-attorney advisor who can provide assistance to the Complainant or the Respondent during Resolution Hearings, Informal Resolution conferences, and any other stage of the processes covered by this Policy, although they are not permitted to directly participate. Rhodes will provide a list of individuals who have received training to serve as Advisors, but parties retain the right to select their own Advisor if they so choose.  

Affirmative Consent: Means an affirmative, conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. The presence or absence of consent is determined by evaluating the relevant facts and circumstances. All five of the following elements are essential in order to have affirmative consent. If one or more of the following is absent, there is no affirmative consent.

  • Consists of Mutually Understandable Communication: Communication regarding consent consists of mutually understandable words and/or actions that indicate an unambiguous willingness to engage in sexual activity. In the absence of clear communication or outward demonstration, there is no consent.  Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance or lack of active response. An individual who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent. Relying solely upon non-verbal communication can lead to an erroneous conclusion as to whether consent was sought or given. Verbal communication is the best way to ensure all individuals are willing and consenting to the sexual activity.
  • Informed and Reciprocal: All parties must demonstrate a clear and mutual understanding of the nature and scope of the act to which they are consenting and a willingness to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way.
  • Freely and Actively Given: Consent cannot be obtained through the use of force, coercion, threats, or intimidation, or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another individual.
  • Not Unlimited: Consent to one form of sexual contact does not constitute consent to all forms of sexual contact, nor does consent to sexual activity with one person constitute consent to activity with any other person.  Each participant in a sexual encounter must consent to each form of sexual contact with each participant. Even in the context of a current or previous intimate relationship, each party must consent to each instance of sexual contact each time. The consent must be based on mutually understandable communication that clearly indicates a willingness to engage in sexual activity. The mere fact that there has been prior intimacy or sexual activity does not, by itself, imply consent to future acts.
  • Not Indefinite: Consent may be withdrawn by any party at any time.  Recognizing the dynamic nature of sexual activity, individuals choosing to engage in sexual activity must evaluate consent in an ongoing manner and communicate clearly throughout all stages of sexual activity. Withdrawal of consent can be an expressed “no” or can be based on an outward demonstration that conveys that an individual is confused, uncertain or is no longer a mutual participant. Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must cease immediately and all parties must obtain mutually expressed or clearly stated consent before continuing further sexual activity.

Because of the commitment to maintaining an environment that supports Rhodes’ educational mission, the College prohibits romantic, sexual, and exploitative relationships between college employees and students. (See Rhodes College Handbook-Fraternization Policy For Faculty and Staff)

Under Tennessee law, people under the age of eighteen (18) may not be able to legally consent under certain circumstances.

Appeals Board: Refers to a group of trained Rhodes faculty and staff members that hears and decides appeals of findings and sanctions imposed by the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board (defined below). The Appeals Board will consist of three members (one of whom will be designated as the board’s chairperson), selected from a pool of trained faculty and staff who have had no prior involvement in the case. This three-member board is authorized to affirm, alter, or reverse the original findings and/or sanctions recommended by the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board. Once issued, the Appeals Board’s decision is final.

Coercion: Means the use of pressure to compel another individual to initiate or continue activity against their will, including psychological or emotional pressure, physical or emotional threats, intimidation, manipulation, or blackmail. A person’s words or conduct are sufficient to constitute coercion if they wrongfully impair another individual’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity. Examples of coercion include, but are not limited to threatening to “out” someone based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; threatening to harm oneself if the other party does not engage in the sexual activity; and threatening to expose someone’s prior sexual activity to another person and/or through digital media.

Complaint: Refers to a written complaint filed with the Title IX Coordinator alleging any action, policy, procedure or practice that would be prohibited by Title IX, such as Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct, and indicating that they want Rhodes to take further steps, such as a full investigation and possibly holding an adjudication to resolve the alleged issue. A Complaint may be filed by a Complainant. A third-party who knows of or witnessed an incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct but who did not suffer such misconduct themselves may request that Rhodes treat their third-party Report as a Complaint. Rhodes can convert a Report to a Complaint if Rhodes determines that, in order to meet its Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the broader Rhodes Community, it must take further steps to address and resolve the matter. A Formal Complaint under the Formal Grievance Policy is a type of Complaint. See Formal Grievance Policy, Section IV.A., regarding Formal Complaints.

Complainant: Refers to an individual who is alleged to have been subjected to an incident of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct (i.e., a First-Party Reporter or a victim or person who has otherwise been affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, or under the Formal Grievance Policy governing sexual harassment, an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment). A Reporter who reports witnessing sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else (i.e., a Third-Party Reporter) can file a Report and request that it be treated as a Complaint, but that does not make them a Complainant. Similarly, the fact that the Title IX Coordinator may elevate a Report to a Complaint does not make the Title IX Coordinator a Complainant.

ConsentSee Affirmative Consent above.

Dating Violence:  See Sexual Harassment below, Subsection B.

Domestic Violence:  See Sexual Harassment below, Subsection C.

Formal Complaint: See Complaint above. See also Formal Grievance Policy, Section IV.A.

Formal Grievance Process: The process described in the Formal Grievance Policy for addressing and resolving a Formal Complaint, as required by the new Title IX Regulations, effective August 14, 2020.

Incapacitation: Means the lack of ability to make rational, reasonable judgments as a result of alcohol consumption, other drug use, sleep, the taking of any so-called “date-rape” drug, unconsciousness, or blackout. An incapacitated person cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because that person lacks the ability to fully understand the who, what, where, or how of their sexual interaction. Incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication, in which alcohol, drugs, or other factors render one unable to make fully informed judgments or have an awareness of consequences. Evaluating incapacitation also includes an assessment of whether a Respondent knew or should have known of the other individual’s incapacitated state. While incapacitation may be caused by drugs or alcohol, it also includes the state of being asleep, during which time a person is unable to provide affirmative consent. 

Informal Resolution: A process intended to allow the Complainant and the Respondent to provide information about the alleged incident(s) of discrimination or harassment, and to reach a mutually agreeable resolution. An Informal Resolution process may take many forms upon the agreement of the parties and the Title IX Coordinator. This process aims to assure fairness, to facilitate communication, and to maintain an equitable balance of power between the parties.

Investigator: Refers to an official(s) designated by the Title IX Coordinator to conduct an investigation of alleged Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct. The Investigator will be a trained individual who objectively collects and examines the facts and circumstances of potential violations of this Policy and documents them for review. The Investigator will be neutral and will not have a conflict of interest or bias or against the Complainant or Respondent. The Investigator may act as a witness in the event of a Resolution Hearing.

Mandatory Reporter: Refers to an individual who is obligated to report any knowledge they may have of Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct. If a Mandatory Reporter observes, is informed of, or otherwise learns of an act of sexual misconduct, they must report it to the Title IX Coordinator.Rhodes defines all faculty and staff as mandatory reporters except certain “confidential resources” staff.  (See Section VIII above.)  The only students who are designated as Mandatory Reporters are Resident Assistants and members of the Peer Advocate Center. 

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection A.

Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection B.

Preponderance of Evidence: Refers to the standard by which it is determined at a hearing whether or not a violation of this Policy has occurred, and means that an act of sex discrimination is “more likely than not” to have occurred. This standard applies for all claims of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct.

Report: Refers to any communication that puts Rhodes on notice of an allegation that sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct occurred or may have occurred. Anyone can report an incident of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct to Rhodes under the procedure described in Section VIII of this Policy. Notice may be given directly to the Title IX Coordinator (“actual notice”) or to any Mandatory Reporter who has a duty to report such information to the Title IX Coordinator. Once the Title IX Coordinator learns of any Report of alleged sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, whether from a direct Report or from a Mandatory Reporter, they will implement supportive measures as needed and initiate an investigation into the alleged incident. The form of the investigation may vary, particularly if the conduct alleged is governed by the U.S. Department of Education’s Title IX Regulations, in which case Rhodes’ Formal Grievance Policy found here will apply. Following an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator has authority to resolve a Report, including the implementation of any supportive measures, and close the case if the Report does not constitute or become a Complaint.

After making a Report, an individual may choose to end their involvement in the process; may choose to be involved or not be involved in Rhodes’ investigation and related proceedings; or may choose to file or request a Complaint and pursue resolution (under this policy or the Formal Grievance Policy, as applicable) or, if applicable, an Informal Resolution involving the Respondent.

Rhodes strongly encourages all individuals to report incidents of sexual misconduct and sex/gender discrimination even if the individual does not intend to pursue a Complaint.

Reporter:  Refers to an individual who notifies the Title IX Coordinator or a Mandatory Reporter of an alleged violation of this Policy. A Reporter can be any individual who reports to Rhodes that they are a victim or survivor of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct; that they have been affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct; or that they have knowledge of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else.

Resolution Hearing: Refers to Rhodes’ disciplinary proceeding through which the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board evaluates evidence related to a Complaint to determine whether a Respondent is in violation of this Policy, based on the criteria of a preponderance of evidence. This process differs from the Formal Grievance Process for sexual harassment required by the new Title IX Regulations, effective August 14, 2020.

Respondent: Refers to an individual who has been accused in a Report or Complaint of conduct that could constitute sexual misconduct prohibited under this Policy (or, under the Formal Grievance Policy governing sexual harassment, an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment).  

Sex/Gender Discrimination: Refers to the unequal treatment of an individual based on their sex, gender or sexual orientation in any employment decision, education program or educational activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Such programs or activities include, but are not limited to, admission, hiring and recruitment, financial aid, academic programs, student treatment and services, counseling and guidance, discipline, classroom assignment, grading, vocational education, recreation, physical education, athletics, housing and employment. The prohibition on sex discrimination also covers unlawful discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions. Also prohibited as sex discrimination is any act which is based on parental, family, or marital status and which is applied differently based on sex.

Sexual Assault: See Sexual Harassment below, Subsection A.

Sexual Exploitation: See Sexual Misconduct below, Subsection C.

Sexual Harassment: “Sexual harassment” is defined in the new Title IX Regulations (34 C.F.R. § 106.30), effective August 14, 2020, to be conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  1. A Rhodes employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (“quid pro quo”);
  2. Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to Rhodes’ education program or activity; or
  3. Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking. 
  • Sexual Assault: An act of sexually-motivated physical contact directed towards another person when the other person does not consent or is incapable of giving consent. This includes but is not limited to rape, sodomy, sexual battery, fondling, incest, and statutory rape. See Title IX Regulations, which cite to 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f)(6)(A)(v).
  • Dating Violence: The term “dating violence” is defined in the new Title IX Regulations by reference to federal statute 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)(10), which defines the term as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (i) the length of the relationship, (ii) the type of relationship, and (iii) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  • Domestic Violence: The term “domestic violence” is defined in the new Title IX Regulations by reference to federal statute 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)(8), which defines the term as felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed between:
      • individuals who are current or former spouses or intimate partners,
      • persons who share a child in common,
      • persons who currently live together or have formerly lived together as spouses or intimate partners,
      • a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the school’s jurisdiction, or
      • any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the school’s jurisdiction.

 

  • Stalking: The term “stalking” is defined in the new Title IX Regulations by reference to federal statute 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)(30), which defines the term as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress.

Types of stalking could include, but are not limited to:

      • Following the targeted person;
      • Approaching or confronting that person in a public place or on private property;
      • Persistent and unwelcome attempts to contact the person by phone, electronic communication (including via the internet and cellphones), or regular mail, either anonymously or non-anonymously;
      • Vandalizing the person’s property or leaving unwanted items for the person;  
      • Persistently appearing at the person’s classroom, residence, or workplace without that person's permission or other lawful purpose;
      • Cyber-stalking, in which a person follows, observes, monitors, or surveils another person through the use of electronic media such as the Internet, digital media networks, blogs, cell phones, texts or other similar devices; and
      • Using visual or audio recording devices or hidden or remote cameras used without the subject’s consent.

It is important to note that the Title IX Regulations’ use of federal definitions of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking may differ from state law. Accordingly, any criminal proceeding brought by state or local law enforcement authorities may use different definitions.

Sexual Misconduct: Is a broad term that includes “sexual harassment” defined by the Title IX Regulations and also encompasses other sexually-motivated or gender-biased misconduct beyond sexual harassment. Examples may include sexual exploitation and many forms of verbal harassment that may not meet the Regulations’ definition of “sexual harassment.”

Additionally, if sexual misconduct is alleged to have occurred that does not satisfy the Title IX Regulations’ jurisdictional criteria, such as off-campus sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment) alleged to have an on-campus effect or occurring during a study abroad program, then it may be addressed under this comprehensive Sexual Misconduct Policy. Such off-campus sexual harassment may be referred to as Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (“NCSC”) or Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration (“NCSP”) (defined below) to avoid confusion between charges brought under this Policy and its procedures as compared to the Title IX Regulations’ “sexual harassment” definitions and requirements, which are governed by Rhodes’ Formal Grievance Policy 

Sexual misconduct is conduct that is unwanted or unwelcome and is sexual in nature. Experiencing sexual misconduct may interfere with a Rhodes community member’s ability to perform a job, participate in activities, and/or participate fully in Rhodes’ education programs. Sexual misconduct is demeaning to others and undermines the integrity of the employment relationship and/or learning environment by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or academic environment through verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual misconduct is prohibited regardless of whether it occurs between or among members of any sex. Sexual misconduct may also consist of inappropriate gender-based comments and gender stereotyping, even if the acts do not involve conduct of an overtly sexual nature.

  • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: “Sexual contact” includes the intentional touching of another person's intimate parts, or the intentional touching of the clothing covering the other person's intimate parts, for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. Such contact is non-consensual if done without the other person's affirmative consent (see definition above).
  • Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration: “Sexual penetration” includes sexual intercourse, oral-genital contact, anal intercourse, or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person’s body or of any object into the genital or anal openings of any other person’s body.  Such contact is non-consensual if done without the other person's affirmative consent (see definition above).
  • Sexual Exploitation: Occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or the benefit of anyone other than the one being exploited. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
    • Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity or other private activity, even if that activity occurs in a public or semi-public place;
    • Non-consensual dissemination of video, photographs, or audio of sexual activity or other private activity, including dissemination by a third party or a person not involved in the original conduct;
    • Exceeding the boundaries of consent (such as, permitting others to hide in a closet and observe consensual sexual activity, videotaping of a person using a bathroom or engaging in other private activities);
    • Engaging in voyeurism, exposing one’s breasts, buttocks, or genitals in a non-consensual circumstance or inducing another to expose their breasts, buttocks, or genitals without affirmative consent;
    • Prostituting another person;
    • Engaging in consensual sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or other sexually transmitted disease or infection (STD or STI) and without informing the other person of such disease or infection; and
    • Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying.

Sexual Misconduct Hearing BoardRefers to the three-member decision-making body, composed of trained Rhodes faculty and/or staff, that considers cases brought under this Policy. One of the three Board members will be designated as the chairperson. The Hearing Board hears the facts and circumstances of an alleged policy violation as presented by the Investigator, a Complainant, a Respondent and/or witnesses at a Resolution Hearing. This body is responsible for determining if a policy violation has occurred and whether/what sanctions are appropriate.

Stalking: See Sexual Harassment above, Subsection D.

Supporter: Refers to any person, regardless of their association with Rhodes, who a Reporter,  Complainant, or Respondent may want to support them through a portion of or the entire process. A Supporter is not required, but is encouraged to help the party with emotional and personal support. When present during interviews, hearings, and appeals, the Supporter cannot take an active role. A supporter can be a friend, family member, or any trusted person who can provide needed care to a party.

Title IX: Refers to a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Title IX prohibits the use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs and provides individual citizens effective protection against those practices. Title IX applies, with a few specific exceptions, to all aspects of federally funded education programs or activities. In addition to traditional educational institutions such as colleges, universities, and elementary and secondary schools, Title IX also applies to any education or training program operated by a recipient of federal financial assistance.

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